Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Christmas Festivities, Part II

When the boys got up the next morning, it was finally Christmas and time to open presents!

Well, that's not exactly true.  When I was awakened by the sound of the television and toys being rattled around, I prepared for the holiday extravaganza only to realize that it was 5:07am, and far too early for my small children to be up.  Children who hadn't gone to bed, mind you, until nearly 10pm, pushing back my bedtime until nearly 2, since we still needed to assemble the "big gift", and I had some Christmas brunch prep work to do.  I stumbled downstairs and tucked them back in, reminding them that Santa hadn't even returned to the North Pole yet, and hoped the threat would be enough to let me sleep until 6:15am.

The second time I was roused from sleep it was lighter in my room, and I was immediately grateful that some time had passed.  Checking my alarm clock, however, I could see that only 11 minutes had passed, and the light in my room was streaming from the hall where the boys had been sneaking peeks at the wrapped gifts since I'd left their room.

Or probably sooner.

We managed to distract them until 7:30am when my Dad came by to open gifts with us, and we subjected them to the pain of opening gifts one by one, an offense that must be comparable to any of the torture methods banned by the Geneva Conventions.

But one by one, the stockings and gifts were opened.  Joel had gotten his main gift in November for his birthday, but we still wrapped up a new shirt and tie for him (an annual tradition), the game Cards Against Humanity and a hunting/utility flashlight tool.  Joel had surprised me with a very large spa set, a new sweater and a brand new phone to replace my faulty device that had taken a swim in the toilet last March.

The boys, as it always seems, had too many things to count.  I've learned that, at their current ages, I can get away with spending more on one than the other because they have nearly no concept of what things cost.  But should one of them receive one more gift than the other?  Watch out.  They'd have all of us strung up in front of the fireplace by our stockings.

I was so happy that we could provide a nice Christmas for them, but no holiday would be complete in our house without the customary surprise.  Every year we hold out on one gift that we deem to be the best (although Graham's week-long obsession with a tiny whizzing airplane from his stocking proved me wrong) and we pull it out as the pièce de résistance of the day.  Once it was the Gator.  Another time, it was the Polar Express train set, which now graces our tree each year.  But this year, it was a kitchen.

We'd been considering a kitchen for the boys for several years, but I hadn't found one I liked and that wasn't adorned with pink flowers.  Some more serious searching this year yielded my first choice, a faux-stainless steel kitchen that is slightly taller to accommodate older kids.  We ordered it shortly after Thanksgiving, and let the box sit in our house so long that neither Cael nor Graham considered it suspect.

But come the night of Christmas Eve, Joel and I learned what selflessness is all about.  Sacrificing for your children is sitting on your knees, bleary-eyed, until 1:15am, assembling mismatched and unmarked boards and avoiding a landmine of weak and tiny factory provided screws.  My Dad once told me that if a couple can put up wallpaper together without someone being assaulted, they have real staying power.  Wallpaper may be "out" now, but I've found a suitable substitute, and I'm glad my boys' Christmas surprise was not the news of our impending divorce.

After all of the effort made, I was a little bummed that they were not as excited as I'd hoped when we revealed the kitchen, but over the last week I have eaten enough fake doughnuts and cobs of corn to wrestle in a higher weight class, or at least to prompt people to ask me if I'm carrying twins.

Yeah. It's the kitchen's fault.

Later my sister's family came and we shared our traditional Christmas brunch, and it was with full stomachs and full trash cans of wrapping paper that we promptly fell asleep and caught up on those missing hours of sleep.

I hope you all had a great Christmas as well!  My kids are finally back in school after a ridiculously long winter break that was compounded by three additional snow days, and life can begin to return to normal.

For a handful of months, that is.  Next Christmas there will be a whole new stocking to fill...

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